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Sick, Sick, Sick, Money being made off Katrina

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  • Sick, Sick, Sick, Money being made off Katrina

    Sick Shit

    Just months before Hurricane Katrina hit, Judah Hertz made a big bet on New Orleans real estate.

    The president of Hertz Investment Group, a Santa Monica, Calif., real-estate firm, bought one downtown office tower in May for $45 million and another in July for $49 million, making him the city's largest owner of high-quality office buildings. The two deals culminated a three-year buying spree in which he snapped up roughly $200 million worth of commercial real estate in New Orleans, in some cases buying from established investors eager to get out of a city with stubbornly high vacancies and languishing rents.

    This week, Mr. Hertz is catching glimpses of those buildings on the television news and wondering just how bad the damage is. "I know this is a very dark moment in their history," he said of the city. "I like to look past that and think of all the good things that are going to happen there."

    "I am very, very bullish on New Orleans," he added.

    Mr. Hertz has no choice but to be optimistic. After all, he made a big gamble on New Orleans and will likely have to make the best of it. He says insurance will cover the repairs and he's hired a restoration team that has begun assessing the damage and planning renovations. Indeed, the future of the city could hinge on whether investors like Mr. Hertz decide to stick around and rebuild.

    Hertz Investment Group's New Orleans Center, a shopping mall near the Superdome, before Katrina (top) and after (bottom).

    Call him the Larry Silverstein of New Orleans. A New York real-estate developer, Mr. Silverstein famously signed a 99-year lease on the office buildings at the World Trade Center just weeks before the 9/11 attacks four years ago. Even though Mr. Silverstein received billions of dollars in insurance payments, the conflicting demands of the site have made rebuilding a struggle.

    Mr. Hertz says he was attracted to New Orleans by the low prices of a weak office market. Rents trailed the national average and vacancies were relatively high. The local economy showed a glimmer of growth, but largely from its tourism industry. The city's population was declining. The oil industry had shrunk and was moving to Houston, according to Property & Portfolio Research, a Boston real-estate research company.

    Over the spring and summer, Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust, the biggest owner of office buildings in the country, sold two downtown office buildings to Mr. Hertz's group. Equity Office, whose chairman is well-known real-estate investor Sam Zell, says the buildings had low occupancy. "When we looked at all of our markets, this was one market we decided we wanted to exit," said Richard Kincaid, chief executive officer and president of Equity Office.

    Equity Office still owns an office complex called the Lakeway Center in Metairie, La., that has broken windows and damaged roofs. One building had a windowless "hurricane room" that was fortified with food and water prior to the storm and functioned as a command center for local officials. A small team from Equity has been hunkered in this room since the storm and has begun assessing damage. As to whether Equity Office will sell the property, Mr. Kincaid said, "we will continue to watch that."

    In the late 1980s, Mr. Hertz did his first deal in New Orleans, converting an industrial warehouse into condos. He returned to the city about three years ago and started buying offices and the New Orleans Centre -- with 65 retail and specialty stores and a 3,000-car garage -- across from the Superdome. His privately held firm now owns about three million square feet of property in New Orleans.

    Gary Horwitz, the company's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, said it has hired Belfor USA, a major disaster restoration company, to begin work, but information about the buildings' condition remains spotty.

    The Texaco Center, a 32-story office tower that Mr. Hertz purchased from Equity Office in July, may have sustained substantial wind damage. "It blew out the windows on one side and went through to the other side," he said. Other properties owned by Hertz include: the 36-story 909 Poydras Street; Dominion Tower, a 26-story building located adjacent to the Superdome; and Westpark Office Building, located in a suburb. The firm doesn't know the extent of the damage to those buildings.

    Westpark Office Building, in New Orleans, is owned by Hertz Investment Group.

    The Hertz group has set up a chat room on its Web site for its 300 tenants -- including law firms and oil related businesses -- to swap information and get updates on their offices.

    Other landlords are wondering whether it makes sense to rebuild quickly. Build too soon, and they might lose money. Build too late and returning refugees won't have shops and services.

    David Lichtenstein, chairman and principal of Lightstone Group, a real-estate company in Lakewood, N.J., says his company's mall in Gulfport, Miss., was heavily damaged in the storm. The roof was torn off and looters ransacked stores. "We're trying to salvage it," he says. "I've got guys down there trying to put tarps on it." He also hired security guards to protect the mall from further looting.

    Like most commercial real estate, the mall has business-interruption insurance, which will cover his lost revenue for a while. But with the city of Gulfport virtually wiped out by Katrina, there's not much of a population to serve. "It may be in our best interest to not do anything and see what happens," Mr. Lichtenstein says.

    Katrina will likely produce a further shrinking of the commercial real-estate market in New Orleans, and that may work in Mr. Hertz's favor. After the big Mexico City and Northridge, Calif., earthquakes in the 1980s and 1990s, many lower-quality buildings were culled from the market because it wasn't worth it to salvage them, says Bruce Rutherford, a managing director who oversees corporate services in the region for Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., a Chicago commercial real-estate services firm. "Although a lot of businesses that don't have to be in New Orleans will not return in the same strength, the destruction in office space and industrial space will result in a much tighter real-estate market than before," he says.

    Plus, New Orleans has one of the busiest ports in the world, and shipping and commodities companies need office space, Mr. Rutherford says. The city's huge amount of industrial space related to shipping will be cleaned up fairly easily.

    Mr. Hertz says he will stick by the Big Easy. "I have always loved that city," he says. "It has a very special way of life and there is no question in my mind that once they get the water out and the sewer operating, the city will come back even stronger than it was."
    First the WSJ compares this guy to Silverstein????? WTF!!!!!!!!! Silverstein pulled his own building on 9/11. He has admitted it. His confession is one of the biggest leads to proving a 9/11 conspiracy. He had WTC tower 7 already prepared to implode on 9/11. Why did he have this done? Just on the off chance the trade centers would fall and his other building would be in danger.

    Anyway they make this Silverstein seem like a genius when he is on the biggest crooks in American history. He reaped a fortune in insurance claims from the towers coming down and he had prior knowledge of 9/11. There is no other explanation for his actions.

    Well now it seems we have a repeat performance. Another Jew, this time Judah Hertz, buys up a ton of NO property just prior to the flooding. Now he will reap the insurance windfall and be on the ground floor for the multi billion dollar rebuilding of the city. Hertz bought over 25% of the downtown office space in NO in a 3 year period culminating in the aquisition of two 40 story towers last summer. His domination of the NO market is unprecedented in that city's history and in the entire nation nobody owns the % of high end office space in a major city that Hertz now owns. No one comes close.

    Wait it gets better. This crooked ass Hertz is a gangster. He tried to buy a couple casinos in Reno back in 99. The Gaming commision of Nevada rejected his bid. He was a gangster and a swindler. His company had over 80 lawsuits pending agaisnt them which he failed to disclose. He also failed to disclose his close relationship with Israeli gangster Jacob Orgad. The gaming commission said Orgas was the heroin and cocain supplier to the Gambino and Escobar crime families, procured drugs for madam heidi Fleiss and her stable of whores and johns, and is known as the principal smuggler of ecstacy into the US.

    The fact is while NO has a history of being the birthplace of Jazz and the mixing of french, Carribean, and African cultures it has been controlled by Jewish families from its inception. The Freyhans, Rosenthals, Freemans, Speilgmans and others are the 'Old Money' of New Orleans. These people made their money in the slave trade. They have their own college in NO, Tulane. Tulane's student body is more than 30% Jewish and the medical school is nearly 2/3rds Jewish.

    These New Orleans rulers call themselves the "Krewes." Check out this article from the WSJ on their plans post Katrina which involve cleansing the city of its "teeming underclass" ie minorities.

    Old-line families plot the future in New Orleans

    NEW ORLEANS - On a sultry morning earlier this week, Ashton O'Dwyer stepped out of his home on this city's grandest street and made a beeline for his neighbor's pool. Wearing nothing but a pair of blue swim trunks and carrying two milk jugs, he drew enough pool water to flush the toilet in his home.

    The mostly African-American neighborhoods of New Orleans are largely underwater, and the people who lived there have scattered across the country. But in many of the predominantly white and more affluent areas, streets are dry and passable. Gracious homes are mostly intact and powered by generators. Wednesday, officials reiterated that all residents must leave New Orleans, but it's still unclear how far they will go to enforce the order.

    The green expanse of Audubon Park, in the city's Uptown area, has doubled in recent days as a heliport for the city's rich - and a terminus for the small armies of private security guards who have been dispatched to keep the homes there safe and habitable. O'Dwyer has cellphone service and ice cubes to cool off his highballs in the evening. By Wednesday, the city water service even sprang to life, making the daily trips to his neighbor's pool unnecessary. A pair of oil-company engineers, dispatched by his son-in-law, delivered four cases of water, a box of delicacies including herring with mustard sauce and 15 gallons of generator gasoline.

    Despite the disaster that has overwhelmed New Orleans, the city's monied, mostly white elite is hanging on and maneuvering to play a role in the recovery when the floodwaters of Katrina are gone. "New Orleans is ready to be rebuilt. Let's start right here," says Mr. O'Dwyer, standing in his expansive kitchen, next to a counter covered with a jumble of weaponry and electric wires.

    More than a few people in Uptown, the fashionable district surrounding St. Charles Ave., have ancestors who arrived here in the 1700s. High society is still dominated by these old-line families, represented today by prominent figures such as former New Orleans Board of Trade President Thomas Westfeldt; Richard Freeman, scion of the family that long owned the city's Coca-Cola bottling plant; and William Boatner Reily, owner of a Louisiana coffee company. Their social pecking order is dictated by the mysterious hierarchy of "krewes," groups with hereditary membership that participate in the annual carnival leading up to Mardi Gras. In recent years, the city's most powerful business circles have expanded to include some newcomers and non-whites, such as Mayor Ray Nagin, the former Cox Communications executive elected in 2002.

    A few blocks from Mr. O'Dwyer, in an exclusive gated community known as Audubon Place, is the home of James Reiss, descendent of an old-line Uptown family. He fled Hurricane Katrina just before the storm and returned soon afterward by private helicopter. Mr. Reiss became wealthy as a supplier of electronic systems to shipbuilders, and he serves in Mayor Nagin's administration as chairman of the city's Regional Transit Authority. When New Orleans descended into a spiral of looting and anarchy, Reiss helicoptered in an Israeli security company to guard his Audubon Place house and those of his neighbors.

    He says he has been in contact with about 40 other New Orleans business leaders since the storm. Tomorrow, he says, he and some of those leaders plan to be in Dallas, meeting with Mr. Nagin to begin mapping out a future for the city.

    The power elite of New Orleans - whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. - insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

    The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

    Not every white business leader or prominent family supports that view. Some black leaders and their allies in New Orleans fear that it boils down to preventing large numbers of blacks from returning to the city and eliminating the African-American voting majority. Rep. William Jefferson, a sharecropper's son who was educated at Harvard and is currently serving his eighth term in Congress, points out that the evacuees from New Orleans already have been spread out across many states far from their old home and won't be able to afford to return. "This is an example of poor people forced to make choices because they don't have the money to do otherwise," Mr. Jefferson says.

    Calvin Fayard, a wealthy white plaintiffs' lawyer who lives near O'Dwyer, says the mass evacuation could turn a Democratic stronghold into a Republican one. Fayard, a prominent Democratic fund-raiser, says tampering with the city's demographics means tampering with its unique culture and shouldn't be done. "People can't survive a year temporarily - they'll go somewhere, get a job and never come back," he says.

    Reiss acknowledges that shrinking parts of the city occupied by hardscrabble neighborhoods would inevitably result in fewer poor and African-American residents. But he says the electoral balance of the city wouldn't change significantly and that the business elite isn't trying to reverse the last 30 years of black political control. "We understand that African Americans have had a great deal of influence on the history of New Orleans," he says.

    A key question will be the position of Nagin, who was elected with the support of the city's business leadership. He couldn't be reached Wednesday. Reiss says the mayor suggested the Dallas meeting and will likely attend when he goes there to visit his evacuated family

    Black politicians have controlled City Hall here since the late 1970s, but the wealthy white families of New Orleans have never been fully eclipsed. Stuffing campaign coffers with donations, these families dominate the city's professional and executive classes, including the white-shoe law firms, engineering offices, and local shipping companies. White voters often act as a swing bloc, propelling blacks or Creoles into the city's top political jobs. That was the case with Mr. Nagin, who defeated another African American to win the mayoral election in 2002.

    Creoles, as many mixed-race residents of New Orleans call themselves, dominate the city's white-collar and government ranks and tend to ally themselves with white voters on issues such as crime and education, while sharing many of the same social concerns as African-American voters. Though the flooding took a toll on many Creole neighborhoods, it's likely that Creoles will return to the city in fairly large numbers, since many of them have the means to do so.
    Their secret society has system of royalty with Kings, Queens, Dukes, etc. Old line families, descendants of the mercantile class, such as the Westfeldts, Freemans, Reismans, Jacobs, and so on, make up the powerful Krewes Cabal. After the Civil War, these 'Carpetbaggers' held an annual Masquerade ball, that was really just decadent orgy. They dressed as French Royalty and brought in 'young companions' from as far away as New York participation in this festival is now required for entrance in the society.

    To protect themselves from the angry masses, they have hired the "Blackwater Security." A company of former Israeli and US military who carry machine guns and shoot to kill anyone in their path. Of course they are owned by a Zionist christian Erik Prince, whose father was a billionaire with Amway and ties to the Moral Majority. His sister is Betsy DeVos, leader of the Zionist Christian outfit The Council For National Policy which promotes their deathwish Christian agenda to the US government through the notoriety of its founder Timothy LaHaye.

    These 'Unholy Cretins', that stayed in their underworld, are coming out of the bogs, and taking off their masks. They lived by deceit, maneuvering us into their wars, freeing the way for their swindles, making fortunes off prostitution, gambling, drugs, pornography, Medicare swindles, and so forth.

    Today, kids die in Iraq, and tomorrow will probably die in Syria and Iran, so oil will flow to Haifa in Israel.

    Putting 20,000 Blacks in the Superdome, with 200 mph winds, would have been a death warrant if Katrina hadn't veered. And as we see 'Mercenaries' brought in, the mysterious explosions and the breachings of the levee, become more suspect by the moment.

  • #2
    Haven't you been banned yet Jew-lover??

    Just "F'n" with ya.
    --Official Lounge Sponsor of Coach Mike Anderson, Colby Rasmus, and Pearl Jam.
    --Suck it cubbies.
    --Thanks to RBB for my kick ace avatar!!** --RETIRE #51!!!


    • #3
      I think Torch got beaten up by several Jews growing up.
      --Official Lounge Sponsor of Coach Mike Anderson, Colby Rasmus, and Pearl Jam.
      --Suck it cubbies.
      --Thanks to RBB for my kick ace avatar!!** --RETIRE #51!!!